A little over three years ago, we were introduced to aspiring filmmaker Julie Espinosa. She became an Artist in Bloom resident and set her focus on exploring ways to get the Columbia Heights community to tell their stories through video. Most recently, this Harvard and Georgetown grad directed her considerable talents on telling the story of our BloomU kids programs leading up to our one year anniversary. We are ecstatic with the results. Please take a moment to view this short seven minute documentary. In her own words:
We grownups tend to see children as somehow perfect in their innocence. Free from adult obligations and unburdened by the baggage experience inevitably brings, we envy the way they can tap into the magic inherent in every moment. There's something refreshing, too, about the sense of authenticity that results from their absolute inability to hide who they are. Perhaps one reason children inspire us is because they have not learned yet how to conceal their reactions and responses. We see in their faces something unfiltered and free, something we can sense a shimmer of in ourselves, even now.
In the words of BloomU instructor Bashea "Iya" Imana, "Every child is a gift to the community. They are sent here with a divine talent and a divine purpose and it's up to us as adults to nurture that talent and purpose so that they can grow up and make the world a better place."
Over the past five months, I created a short video highlighting BloomU (The college of BloomBars) and its impressive repertoire of childrens' programming. While filming the piece, the vibrant BloomU kids community gave me an incredible amount of joy and perspective. In fact, I found it nearly impossible to have a bad day after attending one of the morning programs that happen six days a week! And while the children have left an indelible impression on MY spirit, at the same time I have come to understand just how influential a nurturing community can be on young minds, bodies and souls. Through their commitment to a loving, lively and fun environment, BloomU allows children to safely step outside of their comfort zone and build confidence through the performing arts. Kids are free to get on stage, use the instruments, and are encouraged to express themselves through music, movement and sound. As the world tries to shape and mold them, BloomU ensures that they retain some of their vibrant, free, youthful spirit.
It has been incredible to watch children flourish through engagement with the performing arts and one another, and I am absolutely awed by the way BloomBars childrens' programming has built a meaningful, supportive community. I'm not sure I can express in words how amazing and important this programming is, but as a filmmaker, my language is the moving image. Hopefully this video brings you a fraction of the delight I have experienced. And if you ever get up on the wrong side of the bed, consider volunteering as a greeter at BloomU — Maybe it will inspire you to see magic again in places you've forgotten to look.